I was recently at the Ford South Africa Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) event to share car seat safety tips. I joined Johan, who was the MasterDrive expert on what to do in a hijacking situation. There were five groups, so I went through the session often enough to have it properly sink in. Like most South African parents, I read and memorised a hijacking article that came out a few years back. Within seconds of starting this session I realised there were some massive discrepencies between what I was learning and what I had read. While this isn’t the kind of thing I usually share here, I had a lot of questions on a few points I shared online and sharing is what I do best. Here are some of the biggest things I learned about getting yourself and your family out of a hijacking situation safely.
One of the things that frustrates me the most with South African car seats, is that so many of our children outgrow their harnessed child car seats before they are able to safely use a booster seat with the car seatbelt alone. I had to face this with our secondary car seat that lives in my mom’s car recently. What am I talking about? Contrary to occasionally misleading salespeople and brand reps… Other than 3 car seats in South Africa, all toddler seats – rear or forward facing – only allow use of the harness up to 18kgs and 105cm. This is where my obsession with the BeSafe iZi Plus began…
I have shared these facts in random places, in words. Never all in one place and never with photos. Last year, I started a crusade with #CarseatFullstop. I was so full of righteous anger and frustration at all the parents of South Africa that had the means, but didn’t use car seats for their children. I still carry a huge amount of frustration, but it comes with a humility of having faced my own mom shame on all the things I was doing wrong that was putting my child’s life at risk… This is not a pat-myself-on-the-back for changing my ways post.
Everybody knows by now that I have been invisible to you guys the past few months because of my car seat campaign #CarseatFullstop. You also know I turned Charly back rearwards-facing. I promised I would tell you all about it and review the Volvo Maxway car seat… So, here we go!
I am halfway through a nice “I’m back” post, and I promise I will finish it. I didn’t want to just jump straight back into the car seat business. I even have giveaways for you guys for the next 2 months to make up for deserting you for so long while I made that my focus. But I just HAVE to write about this right now. You guys may be sick of my #CarseatFullstop campaign. You may be sick of seeing articles all over all the parenting blogs. You may be sick of seeing my name or my face or hearing me on the radio. Fair warning, I am going to be in a few print magazines in November as well. Although the campaign ends at the end of September, I don’t think it is ever going to end with me. And THIS is why. THIS is NOT ok!!
Being who I am (not understanding the point of judging other people), the whole “mommy wars” debate generally annoys me. You do what you do, if you believe it’s best for your child. Of course I have opinions on these things… But I don’t feel like there is any need for me “share” (aggressively push) those opinions onto other parents. I have a simple rule that you can use to make these decisions easier for you. Ask yourself, “is the alternative my child dying?”